Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Clim. Past, 10, 261–267, 2014

Special issue: Past environmental and climatic stress during modern human's...

Clim. Past, 10, 261–267, 2014

Research article 06 Feb 2014

Research article | 06 Feb 2014

Distinct lake level lowstand in Lake Prespa (SE Europe) at the time of the 74 (75) ka Toba eruption

B. Wagner1, M. J. Leng2,3, T. Wilke4, A. Böhm1, K. Panagiotopoulos5, H. Vogel6, J. H. Lacey2, G. Zanchetta7, and R. Sulpizio8,9 B. Wagner et al.
  • 1Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Zülpicher Str. 49a, 50674 Cologne, Germany
  • 2Department of Geology, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
  • 3NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory (NIGL), British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK
  • 4Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26–32, 35392 Giessen, Germany
  • 5Seminar of Geography and Education, University of Cologne, Gronewaldstraße 2, 50931 Cologne, Germany
  • 6Institute of Geological Sciences & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1+3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 7Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, University of Pisa, via S. Maria 53, 56126 Pisa, Italy
  • 8Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geoambientali, University of Bari, via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy
  • 9IDPA-CNR, via Mario Bianco 9, Milan, Italy

Abstract. The 74 (75) ka Toba eruption in Sumatra, Indonesia, is considered to be one of the largest volcanic events during the Quaternary. Tephra from the Toba eruption has been found in many terrestrial and marine sedimentary deposits, and acidity peaks related to the eruption have been used to synchronize ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica. Seismic profiles and sedimentological data from Lake Prespa on the Balkan Peninsula, SE Europe, indicate a lake level lowstand at 73.6 ± 7.7 ka based on ESR dating of shells. Tephrostratigraphy, radiocarbon dating and tuning of the total organic carbon content with the NGRIP isotope record, corroborate that the lake level lowstand was a short-term event superimposed on the general cooling trend at the end of MIS 5, most likely at the onset of the Greenland Stadial GS-20. Acknowledging that tectonic events or karst processes could have triggered this lake level lowstand, the chronological correspondence between the lowstand and the Toba eruption is intriguing. Therefore a Toba-driven short-term shift to aridity in the Balkan region, leading to lake level changes and triggering spatial expansion events in one of the lake's most abundant benthic species, the carino mussel Dreissena presbensis, cannot be excluded.